The Minister for Education & Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D., today announced a further initiative to replace prefab units in schools with permanent accommodation.
A total of €15 million has been allocated in 2013/14 to replace prefabs and provide permanent resource rooms and classrooms for some 2,650 students. Forty-six schools, with 115 prefab units, will be offered grants to provide the new facilities. In 2012 the Department of Education and Skills provided funding to replace of over 458 prefab units.
This prefab replacement investment comes a week after the announcement of 28 major school building projects following the additional €50 million secured by the Department of Education and Skills as part of the Government’s “Investing in Infrastructure & Jobs” package. This will see 18 primary schools and 10 post-primary schools replaced or refurbished to provide state-of-the-art classrooms and facilities for over 12,000 students.
Announcing the 2013/14 prefab replacement scheme today the Minister said: “The last prefab replacement initiative was a great success, with over €23.6 million spent to date, 30 projects completed, and a further 100 projects on site.”
“Replacing prefabs offers better accommodation for students and savings for schools and the Exchequer, as well as providing construction jobs. So I am delighted that we are building on the Programme for Government commitment to reduce reliance on rented prefabs in schools and extending the benefits to other parts of the country.”
Savings of almost €5 million per annum on prefab rental will be achieved under the previous initiative, with a further saving of some €2 million from today’s announcement. This announcement will result in the creation of an estimated 300 direct and 60 indirect jobs. A further 1,200 direct and indirect construction jobs are expected to be created at the 28 new school building projects.
Replacing prefabs is part of the Government's €475 million education infrastructure plan for 2014. This Plan will provide modern, high quality accommodation for pupils and teachers and construction related jobs for workers around the country.
The Department’s total investment in 28 new school projects will come to €100 million, with the balance coming from the existing €2.2 billion school building budget for 2012 and 2016.
APPENDIX B - PREFAB REPLACEMENT SCHEME (PHASE II)
Notes for Editors:
The Department's School Building Unit will be writing to approximately 46 schools in the coming days offering grant aid for replacement of each of the rented prefabs on their sites, subject to certain criteria (see below).
2012 Prefab Replacement Initiative
Under the Prefab Replacement Initiative 2012, approval was given to 170 schools to replace 458 prefab units with permanent accommodation. In excess of €42 million was allocated, of which €23.6million paid to date. Thirty projects have been completed, with 100 others on site. The estimated per annum rental savings when all projects have been completed is some €5 million. To date, €467,000 savings on rented accommodation has been achieved.
Criteria for selection for inclusion in the 2013/14 initiative
- Prefabs must be rented for a minimum period and be required for the long term i.e. any major project for the school is unlikely to be completed in the short to medium term or, if it is, the construction of the new classrooms will not hinder the extension and will reduce the scope of works required.
- The school site must be sufficiently large to accommodate construction of permanent build while continuing to use rented prefabs.
- Permanent accommodation should be stand alone in the majority of cases, except where only one or two prefabs are being replaced. If schools choose to include a link corridor this and associated works to the existing buildings will be a matter for the school authority.
- Funding must be drawn down within 15 months.
- If the schools choose not to participate in this scheme the Department may move ahead with the purchase of the rented prefabs that are on the schools site.
- The provision of this funding will result in any previous application for an extension being deemed to have been addressed and will be removed from the Department’s list of outstanding projects.
Schools that do not qualify for this scheme
- Schools currently on the 5 year Capital Programme
- Schools currently in rented prefabs on rented sites which will not be eligible for this scheme
- Schools where their site would not accommodate the construction of new build while the rented prefabs remain on the site
- Schools who would wish to have work done to the existing building as part of any extension.
Recent expenditure on rental of temporary accommodation, including prefabs
The amount spent on renting temporary accommodation at primary and post-primary level, including – but not limited to - prefabricated accommodation in the last three full years:
2012 - €24.7m
2011 - €28.9m
2010 - €29.3m